Living with the Mayor: The True Meaning of 24/7
Friday, May 30, 2014 • 2:34pm
As the wife of Mayor Joe Bruno, I’d like to explain the true meaning of “the Mayor being available 24/7”, as my husband has repeatedly stated during this election campaign. I’ve personally witnessed his 24/7 availability these last 3 ½ years that he has been Mayor of Berkeley Heights (and more so these last 2+ years that he’s been retired from his previous day job).
My husband works tirelessly for this town. Joe loves this town and its community of people. He has a passion for his job and a devotion to Berkeley Heights (17 years of service). Every decision he’s made for this community has been for the good of the people based on sound financial reasoning. He’s like the guardian of a trust fund – your tax money - and he views himself that way.
A typical Sunday night in our home is an exchange of “what’s on your schedule this week”? Hands down, he wins the prize for more booked. His days and nights are filled with meetings, appointments and attending official functions. He’s at Town Hall pretty much on a daily basis. At Town Hall, he’s either meeting with township employees, reading and responding to his mail, reviewing proposals, staying informed, making decisions, and meeting with either residents, potential business owners, or commercial real estate brokers. He does all this during normal business hours 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and during evenings if necessary. I know, because I usually and unintentionally interrupt these happenings when I call him on the phone during the day. I get the familiar, “I’m busy doing (such and such). I’ll call you back” (and he always does). The Mayor’s job is supposed to be a part-time job (it pays only $4,000 a year) but to me, he works as hard as if he had a full-time job. A definite bargain for the salary.
Joe’s evenings are equally as busy. Aside from attending Council meetings, he is on the Union Negotiations committee (has attended those meetings quite frequently these last few months) and is a member of the Emergency Management Team. He sits on the Planning Board and the Library Board. All of these committees and boards meet regularly. On any given day or night he will attend official functions that require an elected representative from our town. He’s gone to Union County freeholder meetings, government meetings in Trenton, local fundraisers, and other township meetings (think Long Hill Township where he publicly voiced his opposition to the “River Wall” which would have negatively impacted Berkeley Heights). He belongs to the New Jersey Conference of Mayors and meets with mayors from other towns. He’s an honorary member of the Rotary Club.
When Joe is not attending official functions, you can find him doing numerous activities with our residents, local groups, and business owners. You will always see him at Grand Openings in town. He visits the veterans at the Lyons Hospital in Basking Ridge and visits the nursing homes in Berkeley Heights (where he does karaoke). Joe belongs to the Seniors Organization in town. You will find Joe presenting awards at Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremonies, or visiting school children at our local schools and giving them little booklets of our U.S. Constitution. He always allows for a question and answer session with the children. His favorite question from the students is “Have you ever met the President or the Governor?” (Yes to the latter). He even performs wedding ceremonies for local residents.
Joe carries two phones with him at all times – his “government” phone (as we call it) and his personal cell phone. He makes himself available and will respond to calls or text messages quickly. But more importantly, he carries the phone with him to respond to emergencies in town. I’ve witnessed his involvement with the many natural disasters and emergencies that this town has had in the last few years. From hurricanes to flooding, a tornado, and fires in town, Joe has always been on site, present and active day or night in helping to restore this town, or helping residents who’ve had unfortunate circumstances. He cares deeply for our uniformed emergency services (Police, Fire and Rescue). I’ve personally seen him visibly concerned when any of them are hurt on the job. He feels for them like family. He cares about the township employees (staff, DPW, all departments), and you will see him delivering coffee and donuts to them during snow emergencies and the like.
I could go on and on… but I hope that everyone reading this sees what is meant by the Mayor making himself available on a 24/7 basis to its residents, township employees, and business owners.
Just remember, Joe Bruno does all of this because he is first and foremost a people person, and he loves the people of Berkeley Heights. He is dedicated to this town. He truly walks the walk (and not just talks the talk). And on top of all that, he is extremely competent in his job and I’m proud of him for all that he does!
Vote for Joe Bruno on Tuesday, June 3rd.